Guiding young people toward a better life can be a rewarding experience, but it can be a difficult and harrowing experience as well. Many young persons are not necessarily open to being guided, and will often protest that they are shackled and constrained especially when someone insists on being the wiser being over them. Young persons need to be approached in a certain manner, and with a certain mien and creativity that should not go overboard into cuteness or cheesy lines. In other words, young persons need to know that they have someone to talk to, and in the process, they can still be guided.
It is in this league that juvenile mentoring programs operate. The process of mentoring involves matching mentors to a suitable younger person who need an adult who is responsible and caring. The adult mentors that participate in juvenile mentoring programs are usually not related to the teen or the child in question; this is because relatives are not often perceived with trust, especially where children of broken homes or abusive parents are concerned. The adult mentors that participate in juvenile mentoring programs are also usually volunteers who work through a program that is sponsored by the local community; a local school or community college; or the local church or religious group.
The mentoring process may be either formal or informal. In formal mentoring, the juvenile mentoring program has certain criteria to match mentors to their protégés, and these criteria are determined by social service workers, social psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts who are working with the local community or the state. Formal mentoring might even involve a regimented schedule around which the mentoring will progress, where the mentor will be provided modules in order to guide the protégés or youth that are assigned to them.
Informal mentoring can also be done in a juvenile mentoring program. In this case, the criteria are not as stringent, and there are no set deadlines or schedules around which the mentoring will operate. Instead, the mentor will simply aim to educate and encourage the mentee, protégé, or youth to whom he or she is assigned. In some cases, there may be more than one mentee to a mentor, and it is these support groups that likewise help each other succeed.
There are many juvenile mentoring programs that are available around the world. For instance, there are after-school programs in which youth leaders help younger persons succeed in the world by teaching them different skills, knowledge, and even arts and crafts that are meant to impart independence and creativity. Such organizations might include the local 4-H or FFA. There are also programs in which young delinquents are assigned to mentors who will help them get a better education. Moreover, there are programs in which at-risk youth, such as those in inner cities or in the ghettos, are helped by mentors who will help them overcome their personal limitations and thus succeed in life.
Some juvenile mentoring programs might include the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which helps youth do better through the help of older teens or young adults. There are still many other juvenile mentoring programs that are being developed, especially now that there are also many different kinds of dangers to which youth may fall into. Such dangers may include drugs, smoking, pornography, and even the Internet, where children may be preyed upon if they are not wise and careful enough.
If you want to find out more about juvenile mentoring programs, look online for programs that may either help you as a mentee, or train you as a mentor. You too, can help the younger generation do better in the years to come.